Want to see another side of Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Company you might not expect? Take your kids to see THE TORTOISE & THE HARE MAKE A HOLIDAY WISH, brought to you by their companion theatre group, Limecat Family Theatre. Limecat produces original musical adaptations of familiar children's stories that are just right for the under 10 set – adorably fun, colorful and fresh, and filled with the same fast-paced action you'll find in the rest of the ZJU shows (but minus all the scary stuff).
The cute factor is high as Teri Tortoise (Caroline Montes), who's having a very bad day, and Harry Hare (Sebastian Munoz), who can't reign in his overly abundant energy, take each other on in a race through Silly Smelly Swamp, over Highly Hilly Hill, and around Willy Wiley Woods, that will end up at the annual Holiday Hoop-La. The winner will receive a one-time only wish, granted by Princess Catnip (Linda Fitak), and though you may think you know the end of the story, this one's got a twist you won't see coming and packs a few well-placed lessons along the way.
Montes is a charmer as the slow and steady Tortoise making a nice contrast to Munoz's kooky, motor mouthed Hare. The energetic supporting cast takes on multiple roles and keeps the dialogue whizzing fast and furious as quick costume changes fly by, musical numbers lift the energy, and punch lines hit their mark.
Before the show, director Denise Devin asked how many of the children in the audience had never seen a show before and quite a number of hands went up. It was just as much fun watching their faces as they watched the show as it was actually watching the show. The little ones were mesmerized; wide eyes transfixed on the characters and their colorful costumes. Some sang along with the music, their bright faces full of smiles, and others chimed in unexpectedly when a line especially engaged them in the story. Even the adults who attended without kids were full of smiles, proving that this lovely, lively holiday entertainment really is perfect for the whole family.
A stretch break after Teri and Harry pass Silly Smelly Swamp – pee-yew – invites everyone to do the bunny hop (hop, hop – wiggle, wiggle, wiggle) and gives parents a chance to take photos. Funny dancing Matzoh Balls (Heather Lehigh and David Wyn Harris), a sweet lost Snowflake named Shiloh (Heldine Aquiluz), and the Bah Humbugs (Redetha Deason and Janet Cha) are a few of the distractions Harry encounters during the race, but slow and steady Teri keeps to her mantra singing "Gotta Keep Moving Along."
Limecat's TORTOISE & THE HARE is 50 minutes of silly, giggly fun, and a great introduction to theatre for even the tiniest of audience members. So cute. So adorable. And bursting with the kind of joy and merriment that will brighten your day and instantly put you in the holiday mood.
THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE MAKE A HOLIDAY WISH
Sundays at 1pm and 3pm
December 2, 9, 16, & 23, 2012
Written by Denise Devin and Zombie Joe
Original music & lyrics by Christopher Reiner
Additional lyrics & choreography by Denise Devin
Costumes & Scenic Design by Jeri Batzdorff
Produced by Zombie Joe
The Limecat Family Theatre @ ZJU Theatre Group
4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
Reservations: (818) 202-4120
For more Los Angeles musical theatre news follow @MusicalsinLA on Twitter.
Pictured above: Sebastian Munoz as Harry Hare and Caroline Montes as Teri Tortoise. Photo Credit: Denise Devin.